The Wanted have announced their comeback – with bandmate Tom Parker telling Sky News he is feeling “pretty good” following treatment for a brain tumour and excited about performing with the group once again.
The chart-topping boyband will play together for the first time in seven years later in September, at a charity gig organised by Parker, 33, to raise funds for research into brain cancers.
Along with his bandmates – Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Nathan Sykes and Jay McGuiness – he said he also wanted to raise awareness, with the group’s announcement feeling particularly poignant following the death of Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding, who was also diagnosed with cancer in 2020.
Parker, who appeared on reality TV show The Jump alongside Harding in 2016, said: “We are doing all we can to try and beat this disease but there’s no guarantees with it… so [I’m] just doing what I can, raising awareness.”
The Wanted formed in 2009 and first topped the charts with their debut single All Time Low the following year. They went on to release three albums before they announced an indefinite break at the beginning of 2014.
Now, they are returning with a greatest hits album, two new songs and previously unreleased live recordings.
A lot has changed since they last worked together, not least Parker’s diagnosis.
The singer, who has two children with wife Kelsey, revealed in October 2020 that he was receiving treatment for a grade four glioblastoma – an aggressive cancer that can occur in the brain or spinal cord – and said he had been told it was inoperable.
But in January, there was good news, with the star announcing there had been a “significant reduction” in the size of his tumour, following hospital treatment.
“Tom has had stability or reduction of the tumour every single time and his trajectory is looking really, really good,” McGuinness confirmed to Sky News at the reunion announcement.
However, Parker said that even two months ago, he might not have felt well enough to say yes to reuniting with his bandmates. Now, he is in a much better place and feeling “pretty good, surprisingly”.
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He continued: “I think a lot of people are quite surprised by it. I think with this disease, you get quite a natural decline, but if anything it seems to be on the incline. I feel a lot better than I did a couple of months ago.
“When we had the initial conversation [about reuniting], I was like I’m not sure I will be able to do it, just for my health. But with my health getting better, here I am sitting today.”
He also said his bandmates had helped him get through the past year, saying: “The boys have been a fantastic supporting system.”
A comeback had initially been planned for 2020, but plans were put on hold due to the pandemic.
During that time, they worked on other projects, and McGuiness performed on stage in Sleepless In Seattle alongside Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh.
Like Parker, McGuinness paid tribute to Harding – who went public with her breast cancer diagnosis just two months before The Wanted star – saying he had been in contact with Walsh following her death earlier in September.
He said he believed the Girls Aloud star would see the humour in the boys’ reunion, adding: “Sarah is laughing at us right now for trying to do this again.”
Most Wanted – Greatest Hits will be released on 12 November. Inside My Head – The Concert, in aid of Stand Up To Cancer and The National Brain Appeal, takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 20 September